4th Annual Frankenfooter Half marathon

This weekend was my first race in awhile.  My family and I participated in the 4th Annual Frankenfooter Half Marathon.  We had run this race, or a race with the same name in 2011 and it was a lot of fun so we decided to register again.  Somehow, our shirts in 2011 say 2nd Annual Frankenfooter, so I’m not sure how that timing works out…but that’s not relevant to the story.  The race was also held at a different location than the 2011 race, but still in the New Port Richey area.  The start and parking was at Port Richey Waterfront Park, a small park right on the water with boat docks and nice scenery.  It wound through some neighborhoods and through several nearby parks on the water as well, before ending at Gil Dawg Marina for the post party.

The race was supposed to start at 7am at Waterfront Park.  It was very dark, and no one was quite sure exactly where the starting line was, so, as with many races, the runners were mostly congregated around the restrooms.  Around 6:45, race coordinators announced that the start was being moved to the road in front of Gil Dawg Marina, due to it being so dark.  I believe the first part of the run was supposed to be on the small trail section in Waterfront Park, and I think they though twice about having us run that in the dark…a good move, I think.  Plus the view from that trail section was beautiful and would have been totally wasted in the dark.

Here we are pre-race in the dark.  I wore my new, sparkly running tutu from Team Sparkle (I bought mine off of amazon).

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The race started a little late, around 7:10am, which wasn’t a big deal.  Amazingly, for changing the route of the course last minute, the route was very clearly marked.  There were also volunteers at every area where there could be any confusion.  Many of those volunteers were very enthusiastic and cheered us on as we raced, which is always a great encouragement.  I can actually feel myself run faster after being cheered on…  The race/runners seemed to be unusually fast compared to other races I have run.  I ran a 2:04:33 half marathon – my personal best.  This means I ran, on average, around 9:30 miles.  For many races, especially local races, I feel like I usually run in the middle/faster end of the pack of runners.  Not this race.  There were a lot of out and back segments to the race, so you could see the runners ahead of you looping back, which was fun, but from that view it seemed like I was in the middle/slower end of the pack.  I felt like there were a lot more people ahead of me than behind me.  Considering I feel like 9:30 miles is pretty good for a small, local race this means there were a lot of really fast people there.  The woman who won the race finished in about 1 hour and 24 minutes!  Almost all of the age group winners had times under 1 hour 40 minutes!  I got a personal record though, so I was pretty happy with myself.

I was attempting a new style of racing for myself, running by feel rather than by pace.  I started the first 7-8 miles running easily, as if I could keep going forever.  The next 3-4 miles, I started focusing on individual racers and trying to pass them.  Finally, the last 2 miles I ran hard, like I wasn’t sure how long I could keep it up before I was spent.  Here’s my splits:

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I finished the race feeling like I worked hard and gave it my best, but not so dead that I was feeling sick – of course, I did get a fairly bad upset stomach starting about 1 hour later, but we wont get into that…

Here’s the whole family after the race!  Jordan (brother) got first place in his age group with an impressive time of 1 hour and 42 minutes!  And he received a fancy Frankenstein Trophy as an award.  Erin finished shortly before I did, and Mom and Dad finished in 2 hours and 50 minutes – they ran 6.6 miles of it, doing a run/walk method.

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The post race party included breakfast, bananas, and the mandatory post-race beer.  We enjoyed the food and then went home to relax!

Any Florida Races you guys have tried out?  We are always looking for new races to try, especially if they are on Sundays!

**I had to edit this – my parents corrected me that they actually ran 6.6 miles of the half marathon – more than half (I had originally put 6 miles 🙂  Great job guys!

Graze Box Review…and Running Update!

I almost didn’t write tonight. It’s been a busy/somewhat stressful day, and I’m exhausted.  But I then I remembered how much I actually enjoy this, so here I am.  I have been getting back to my training schedule after being out for 3 weeks, and finally feel like my legs are remembering that they were used to these miles.  However, I had my longest “long run” this week since starting training (12 miles), and it kind of kicked my butt!  It might have been the heat – it was a dry 82 degrees, which is pretty good for Fl – or just that it was my longest run, but I was expecting to recover better.  I did push myself through it though, and am feeling nearly recovered, about 3.5 hours later…Hopefully this means I’m prepared for my half marathon next weekend – stay tuned for that update!

Ok, but on to the real reason we’re here – more fun boxes!  Now, before anyone gets worried about me, I set myself a strict box budget, and have a fun time seeing how many boxes I can fit into this budget!  Also I look for deals so I can get a few months of one box at a time for that month’s budget and then can spend my next months budget on something else!  So far, so good, although this only works if you stay on top of cancelling the ones you don’t want to be charged for again.  Not that anyone has asked or expressed concern, but my friends and family know how I tend to jump on board to these trendy (aka crazy) ideas, and sometimes they don’t work out…

Graze Box

Graze is a snack subscription box that you can choose to have sent to you up to once weekly.  They also offer every 2 weeks and monthly subscriptions.  Boxes cost $6.49 each, and they are currently offering a deal where you can get your first and fifth box free, with no commitment to subscription (you have to cancel after you receive your first box if you don’t want them to start charging you).  They say on your site that you have to use a referral code to get this deal, but I am pretty sure I got the same deal without one.  Either way, if you would like to use my codes, here is the link including the code, and here is the input style of the code: X9GJ2HJ3P (either one works fine).  If you are trying it as a sample and have no intention of renewing your subscription, I would first set your subscription to every other week or longer, to give yourself time to cancel.  Graze is also in the process of offering a “big box” with multiple portion bags in the near future.

The boxes are delivered by USPS and are small enough to fit in your mailbox.  The site says they commonly ship to both home and work.  I usually receive mine on Monday or Tuesday, which I like because I feel like I then have new snacks for the week.

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First look on opening the box:

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Each box comes with 4 healthy snacks – dried fruit, nuts, nut/seed bars, trail mix – individually wrapped for convenience.  The box also comes with an insert containing nutritional information and also helpful healthy eating tips.  All of their snacks have symbols on the wrapper, which are supposed to quickly indicate which ones are the low calorie ones, the ones with extra vitamins, and other potential health benefits (I will admit, I have not figured out all of the symbols yet).  Most snacks are between 90-250 calories.  At this time, Graze is unable to do allergy requests.

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Close up of the food.  Especially for your first couple of boxes, there is no way to pick which snacks you get, however, as you eat your snacks, you can go online and let them know if you “loved it” would love to “try it” or want to “trash it”.  In theory you should receive more of the ones you love, and never receive anything you hate again – their selection is so big that, in about 4 boxes so far, I have yet to even get close to trying everything!  I have only had one snack total that I disliked enough that I didn’t want to eat it, most of them I have loved.

Review: When trying this box, I had absolutely no intention of renewing my subscription.  I didn’t think I would be excited about snack boxes in general.  However, after receiving the first box, I liked how easy it was to just grab a snack to put in my purse and eat it at work – rather than scrounging the break room for whatever is fair game – and I like that I have healthy alternatives on hand all the time.  I also like that it is only $6.49.  Unlike more expensive boxes (not necessarily food boxes), I feel like I expect very little to feel like I received “my money’s worth”, and I feel like Graze exceeded my expectations in both excitement of opening the box and in quality of product.  I also feel like I spend $6.00 a week or every other week on random stuff anyways, so why not spend it on something fun and healthy?  I have been getting a box every week so far and for the most part liking them a lot!

Freezer Meals, Running, and a Little More Stitch Fix!

Forgive me, anyone who likes posts to be about one topic.  This will not be that kind of post.  Mostly because I have been pretty busy lately, but also because a lot of the topics I have to write about seem to involve subscription boxes of some type, and I am trying to not turn this into a subscription box blog….but there will be a little Stitch Fix at the end, because my mom and sister got their boxes, and I want to share their clothes with you too!

I guess, chronologically first up would be running.  Not too much to talk about that, since unfortunately Mark and I have been sick, and it had prevented me from running for the past 3-3 1/2 weeks (we had mono 😦 Crazy, right?  What are we, teenagers?)  Anyways, I am finally feeling up to running this week, and was reviewing my training schedule to assess the damage.  Let me tell you, it’s bad…I have been following the Hal Higdon Novice Supreme 30 week marathon training schedule, and had been actually very consistent.  But now I missed weeks 19-22!  I looked at the schedule and realized I had only 7 weeks of training until the Space Coast Marathon, and 3 of those are supposed to be taper weeks (where you run less miles and let your muscles recover and prepare for the race).  So it’s going to be a stretch to get myself in marathon shape by then, but I’m going to try.  I also had the Savage Race Scheduled, which is an obstacle course mud race, but my doctor said no to that one because of the mono.  On the plus side, that freed up my schedule to register for the half marathon the rest of my family was already running on the same day – a Halloween themed race called the Frankenfooter Half marathon, and I’m pretty excited about that.  Plus, it will motivate me to get back on the wagon for marathon training.

This week represented a change in work schedule for me.  I started working an extra day, which I think will work out very well in the long run.  However, I’m the type of person that any change in my schedule represents a significant amount of stress, and I usually deal with that stress by coming up with random projects to do.  So Sunday I decided to make several different meals and then freeze some of them, so I wouldn’t have to worry about making dinner when I got off of work!  Of course I went to Pinterest to find the recipes, that site is really the best for random projects like this.  I decided to start *small* and found 2 dinner recipes and 1 breakfast recipe.  Both of the dinner recipes are from The Humbled Homemaker Blog, and I picked them because they were easy to make and easy to cook out of the freezer.  The 2 recipes I used were her Chicken Divan recipe and her Baked Ziti Recipe.  I am actually eating the Chicken Divan leftover for dinner as I type this.  For the breakfast recipe I used the recipe from GetCreativeJuice Blog with some of my own modifications.  All told it took me about 2 1/2 hours to make all of these recipes, and ended up with 2 trays of Baked Ziti, 5 freezer bags of Chicken Divan and 24 mini breakfast muffins.  We had the Baked Ziti for dinner, and I thought it was yummy, although V vetoed it and I don’t think Mark was happy I put in zucchini.

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Ok, now on to Stitch Fix.  If you dont know about stitch fix, this blog post explains it all.  Since this is my sister Kelly’s fix, I don’t have all the same details like price on them, but I can still share the cute pictures.  My mom got her fix too, but I have yet to receive permission to post her pics, maybe next post I will.  On to the fix!

1. Hanlee airy knit raglan sweater

2. Jimmy ankle length skinny jeans

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Obviously the sweater does not fit right, but she says the jeans are a maybe (I know you cant see them that well, they are ankle length skinny jeans)

3. Kassidy open lattice detail tank

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Sadly another fit problem, which is too bad because we both LOVE the idea of this shirt and think it would have been a keeper if it had fit.

4. Roma floral print short-sleeve blouse

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She loves the fit and style of this cute floral shirt!

5. Ashland chevron print dress

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I think this dress is SUPER ADORABLE, but she is not sure about it.  I think she likes it too, just isn’t sure where she would wear it too and whether it would get the wear for the price (not sure of the price, sorry).  I hope she keeps it, but I get not wanting to buy a probably fairly pricey dress if you are not sure you will wear it.  By the way, once again, all stitch fix links are referral links.

That’s all for now guys, thanks for reading!  Let me know what you think!

My Running…Start

So I told you all that I enjoy running, right?  And, really, I do.  I will say if you are still on the fence about running (or even firmly on the other side of the fence), it’s not like you can just start running and immediately like it.  Or, at least I can’t.  When I first got back into running about 3 months after having V, it did not feel good, and I did not like it.  Several members of my family and I had decided to sign up for the Walt Disney World Marathon though so I knew I needed to train. I wasn’t sure then if running would ever feel good, but i remembered that I genuinely had enjoyed it when I was in shape at previous points in my life.  

To start out, I downloaded the *free* “Couch to 5k” App on my iPhone.  This is an 8 week training app that gets you to go from no running at all to continuously running 3.1 miles.  It starts with walk/running (30 seconds running, 2 min walking) and gradually transitions to all running.  Most of the workouts are 30 minutes or less as well, which fit in with even my busy schedule.  Again, totally free.  I tried some of the longer “Couch to …” apps but did not like them as much.  Even the “couch to 10K” app regularly has training times of 60+ minutes, and I just don’t have that much time!  But feel free to try them out if you are interested. 

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Once I got to the point where I could run 3.1 miles fairly comfortably, I finally started to enjoy running.  I tell people all the time “if you can run 3 miles, you can run most distances”, at least for me, 3 miles was my turning point.  I continued training for longer and longer miles, and eventually finished my first marathon in January, 2014.  It wasn’t a pretty finish, I definitely “bonked” in the middle, but I finished and am extremely proud of myself.  I have now signed up for 2 more marathons this season, and am hoping that they will both be much stronger races.

My plan is to eventually talk about the apps, gear, etc that I use when I run, as well as the races as I run them, but if you are interested in getting started running, this app is a good place to start.  Besides for that, all you need are some sneakers, a t-shirt, shorts and (maybe) a sports bra!  What are your go-to apps or gear when you run?  Have you tried this app?

 

**I have no affiliation at all with any of the C25K products, and receive no compensation

Welcome to My Blog!

Hi, My name is Morgan and this is my first ever personal blog post.  There, I said it.  I have been wanting to start a personal blog for a while but wasn’t sure I had enough to say.  Then I started a wordpress blog while on maternity leave like a year and a half ago but never wrote a post.  I think I got bogged down by all the details and adding stuff to the blog that I thought it was too complicated – but really, it’s not 🙂

As a fairly new mom (My daughter “V” is 18 months now) I find that my life is pulled in many different directions.  I of course want to be the best possible mom to V, but I have a professional career that I also want to be the best at.  Not to mention, I have always been a person that likes to try new trends and hobbies, and that part of myself has not gone away just because I have less time.  Now that I mention it, this blog is probably indicative of that part of myself!  I want to use this as a space to talk about whats interesting to me at this time (well, that sounds selfish!).  Here are some previews of general topics to expect from me:

1. Toddlers – I am always looking for stuff to do with V.  I love finding new play ideas and new meal ideas.  Anything I can do to get her to eat more “real” food and watch less Mickey Mouse.  Not that there’s anything wrong with a little Mickey Mouse, I just love seeing her play instead of sit in front of the TV.  Toddlers are much harder to feed and entertain than I would have ever guessed before becoming a mom.  BTW that’s her in my profile pic, in case you hadn’t guessed.

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Husband Mark and toddler V

2.  Veterinary Medicine/pets – I am a small animal veterinarian, and it takes up a big portion of my life and attention.  I love, love, love my job and could never see myself doing anything else.  I love it so much that I actually missed my patients when out of maternity leave and was ready to get back to work (I feel bad just saying that).  Of course, I also missed V once I started working again.  I have a professional/business blog for my more serious education articles and stories from the clinic but I can’t imagine I’ll be able to keep them totally separate.

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3.  Running/fitness – I am a distance runner.  Right now I am into marathons, but before that I did a lot of half-marathons.  So far I have only run 1 marathon (Disney World marathon!), but I am in training for 2 more this season.  I started running in undergrad when a lot of my friends were endurance exercise junkies, but took an unofficial hiatus from about mid vet-school until after V was born.  All of the enforced inactivity of my pregnancy/ankle fracture sparked the running bug again, and I haven’t looked back.  Running is my time.  I get to think about my day and make plans, I get to let out my stress, I get endorphins.  I also like trying out various new diet trends, because I want to see what they feel like to do, although I know most of them probably aren’t that healthy or aren’t going to be something I can keep up.  Although I do run to lose weight as well, I am generally pretty happy with my looks and like that I can mostly eat what I want so long as I run.

4.  Food – Just like toddler food ideas, I am always looking for, and trying out family meal ideas.  I am really not that great of a cook, even when following recipes, so be prepared for some failed dinners.  Usually my poor husband, Mark, eats it anyways, although I can usually tell he’s not crazy about it if he only eats one helping.  Still I sometimes come across great and easy to use recipes, so I will share them if I do.  I also sometimes go on a food dehydrating/jerky making kick.

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5.  Fashion – Ok.  I am just not that fashionable.  I try to look cute, professional, put together, but if an outfit has more than 2 pieces chances are I wont know how to wear it.  I try to stick with a few basic pieces and combine them in predictable ways.  However, I did just recently sign up for Stitch Fix and I am super excited about it.  Basically a personal shopper picks out clothes for you based on a style profile you fill out and your pinterest pins and sends you 5 items in the mail – like surprise Christmas!  It does cost $20 for them to send it to you but that $20 can go towards any clothes you decide to buy.  If you don’t like the clothes, they give you a pre-paid envelope to send back.  And, if you refer a friend you can get referral credit, so let me know if you’re interested 🙂  I haven’t gotten any clothes yet because my first shipment is not until October, but I am excited about this adventure.  And I really like reading Stitch Fix blogs, so I wanted to do my own as well.  I know this sounds like an advertisement, but I really am just that excited lol.

Well, I think that’s all for today, but expect to hear from me again soon!  Let me know what you think!